University of the South PKE sorority members and South Cumberland Community Fund joined forces last fall to create change for the South Cumberland Plateau. University Bonner student, Malicat Chouyouti, recently visited with PKE member and University junior Sarah Burgin to learn more about this new partnership.
Last spring then-PKE president Ellie Schwartz noticed that there was a need for PKE to take on more of a philanthropic role in the community. Through an Appalachian studies course she took at the University, Ellie learned about SCCF and the work the organization does for the community, and felt it would be a good fit for PKE. She shared her idea for an SCCF/PKE partnership with the sorority and it was decided that it was a natural choice given their shared value of philanthropy and each organization’s ability to capitalize on a myriad of talents and backgrounds to serve many interests.
Over this school year PKE has sponsored several events that benefit SCCF, including selling Chick-fil-A sandwiches to students during finals week and sponsoring a silent auction on the Mountain during Mom’s weekend. In December, PKE also sold SCCF holiday cards at McClurg to students who liked the idea of spreading holiday cheer while supporting a nonprofit.
On March 30th, PKE hosted the first annual Red Dress Run in Sewanee with net proceeds going to SCCF. The idea of the run came from current PKE treasurer Victoria Hearin, who is from Baton Rouge where the Red Dress Run is a popular event. PKE wanted to bring the Red Dress Run to the Sewanee community as they thought it would be fun to host a unique event that would make a big (red) splash in the community and bring about more awareness of SCCF. The sorority decided to include both a 5k and 1-mile run so the race would attract more participants. The event was considered a success largely due to the diverse turnout, with community members, students, and faculty participating. Burgin said that her favorite memory of the Red Dress Run was “...seeing a sea of red at the intersection of the 5K and 1-mile routes.”
PKE is happy to announce that it has raised $2,000 for SCCF to-date. Burgin, who is the incoming community service chair for the sorority, said she sees opportunity for growth in the partnership as volunteer opportunities are expanded and ideas for more fundraising events emerge. SCCF is deeply grateful for PKE’s support, and, as SCCF Director Janet Cooper says, “This partnership keeps me young!”